Kay’s nonfiction debut defines and describes dental-related topics for patients.
Written in short chapters, Kay’s compendium contains “the accumulation of information and knowledge received by many conversations” during her 10-plus years working in a dental office. In a folksy style, she answers big questions, such as “Why are dental procedures so expensive?” and “What kind of active ingredient in toothpastes should you consider?” She gives equal weight to children’s issues—proper oral hygiene, wisdom teeth, first check-ups—and to problems plaguing older patients—snap-on smiles, crowns, dentures, implants. To encourage brushing, she suggests children imagine that their mouths are filthy kitchens with unwashed plates and bugs crawling around. To discourage the drinking of carbonated soft drinks, have children play a game to see whose favorite “brand of coke” will disintegrate a submerged penny first. When discussing tobacco products, she mentions the risk of oral cancer and suggests quitting, “or at least cut way back.” She continues to curb her argument by suggesting that smokers “try not to take such long, hard drags” and “move it around.” “This includes the spot where the cigarette rests on the lips.” Kay certainly means well. Many of her tips and opinions seem to be based on a solid background in dentistry, but she never clarifies in what capacity she has served. This omission is not helped by typos, grammatical lapses and strange word combinations. “Cavity bugs food is carbs,” she writes early on. A number of similarly confusing phrases follow: “Natural tooth do have the strongest design.” The text frequently directs readers to the Internet with unironic commands like: “Google, food PH chart!” or “YOU-TUBE HAS LOTS OF DEMOS” Random capitalization is a leitmotif in Kay’s writing. For no discernible reason, whole paragraphs appear as if the author’s “caps lock” key was stuck.
Baffling phrases and mistakes sink what might have been a breezy self-reference guide.